Birdbrain Stuff

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Gone Missing

I've had some reasonable, good and very good birds in the wider local area I survey in 2015 but the following failed to grace the optics:

Arctic Tern, Jack Snipe ( I don't believe it!) LSW, Mediterranean Gull, Pied Flycatcher, Ringed Plover, Waxwing, Wood Warbler.
I have Peregrine ticked but I'm almost positive that was a bird at Swillington Ings.
Grasshopper Warbler only just made it on to the list with one at Soil Hill at the start of Autumn migration. Let's hope this species has another crack at the bottom of SH before the excavators finally win.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Queensbury to Mixenden

Raggalds had 9 Lapwing and some small gulls. I got to Soil Hill at 0940 hrs to be informed by a local resident I'd nicely missed a pr Raven heading north by 10 minutes.
JL was also present so we did the rounds and were overjoyed to get:
Skylark, Grey Heron, Crows and some unid blob on the wretched, evilly named NK pond.

Ogden Res was full of people but not birds. Two attempts at the overflow failed to get the 2 star attractions seen lately by BS. 1 each Cormorant & LBBG. Some Canada, small gulls, poss brief Bullfinch, Goldcrest.

Mixenden Res produced f GOLDENEYE which is by far the latest autumn/winter bird Ive had. Also numerous small gulls, 1 LBBG and a few Chaffinch, Goldfinch en route.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Finally some local action.

Queensbury Sth and a bit more approx 0810-1045 hrs.
21 Lapwing constantly circling for about 35 mins between the trailer park and top of Northowram. The Cross Lane bog had 4 Snipe (same as my last trip on Xmas morning) a Reed Bunting & Kestrel. Hereabouts were couple each Pied Wagtail & Meadow Pipit with small gulls in groups heading generally SE.
4 Mallard were idling in the Green Lane pond and on the return leg here a Sparrowhawk put up c110 Common Gull from a field and also displeased c80 Jackdaw.
I did a Buzzard check and was happy to see a light phased bird out basking in the sunshine.
Others seen throughout: Mistle Thrush, 2 Blackbird, Pied Wag, Collared Dove, Woodpigs and for some reason a fair number of Gt Tit.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Exmouth Finalè

A big last day slog up to Bowling Green Marsh and back covering 5 plus miles there and a bit more back. I'll put some meat (bullshit?) on later but here are some of the birds seen.
5 Greylag, 1 Grey Plover, 2 Grey Heron, 18 Little Egret (17 in one field). Pr Egyptian Goose, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Mute Swan, 1 Kingfisher, 1 GSW. Finally bumped into a few Moorhen but just 1 Coot. I managed 1 Avocet but was told there were thousands round the corner!
Black-Tailed and Bar-tailed Godwit were present in good numbers. You should have seen them swirling around when an unid raptor put them up.
C14 Teal, 2 Shelduck, 1 fine drake Pintail, many Turnstone, Redshank & Oystercatcher, a few Shoveler and the ubiquitous gulls.

I got my first winter Chiffchaff in donkeys years just outside Exmouth on the way up. LTT were a new addition and yet again singing Song Thrush were a feature this time at least 4 birds.  What I thought to be an odd grunting Brent turned out to be an overhead Raven!
Just 2 Buzzard on tbe motorway back home.
Next time I'll give Dawlish Warren some 'ammer.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Exe Estuary Excites

I cant start at the beginning as Ive been overwhelmed by birds and numbers so here in ramshackle order we go. 45+ Curlew, 8 Little Egret (no Grey Heron). 3 f Pintail, 11 Mallard, 1 f RB Merganser, c20 Shelduck, c25 dark-bellied BRENT GEESE, 1 Mute Swan, c26 Wigeon.

These are just what I could see with bins, out on the far sand banks and mudflats were multitudes more.

Waders close to shore: 3 Dunlin, c10 Redshank, c28 Turnstone, c34 Oystercatcher.
Usual gulls with at least 50 GBBG. Cormorants, Shags, 5 Pied Wagtail, House Sparrows, Starlings, Blackbirds. Just low numbers of Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Goldfinch. I may have had a Rock Pipit among the few Meadow Pipit there  based on call difference.
What does one do on Thursday I wonder, umm.
PS Surprisingly not a single raptor seen.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Exmouth Soaking Redeemed

Morning kicked off dry but grey with a hightide so I kicked off in the direction of the cliff tops. It was mild despite the headwind and there were quite a number of passerines about about including a Song Thrush at full throttle (throstle?)
Sea watching was hard graft and I did have that sinking feeling for a while. This picked up after the tide had gone out exposing more beach and significantly rocks. 33 Oystercatcher, 4 Pied Wagtail, several Cormorant, c6 Shag & the numerous small/large gulls. I encountered many Herrings both obvious and suspicious plumage types. Caspian cant be claimed but it was good to see good numbers of GBBG.
Must mention the cliff top Goldcrest before moving on to the last gasp reward which appeared as the rain finally got down to the skin. I went to the harbour area, The Point, turned a corner and bumped into a pr RED BREASTED MERGANSER close to the beach. The male was photographable and I will do the honours when I can transfer from camera to laptop.
Just overheard a conversation; its forecast fine weather tomorrow. I wonder if tomorrow will ever come.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Exmouth Exravaganza

Journey down from  Worcestercestershire onwards  Buzzards started to appear even in the dark often rain filled skies probably got 6 in all. Picture of Dunnock at close quarter but the Robin shied off. 3 Pied & 1 Grey Wagtail, Cormorant, BH & Common Gulls. Couple Herring & LBB Gull and one that never landed but screamed YLG. This reminds me that Caspians are reported here just down the end of the esplanade. Ill be up wi' lark in t' morning.
Small world aint it, the brave lady sat alongside me on the coach knows messrs S Blacksmith & B Hoyle from HX Scientific Soc.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Christmas Without Bunty

My much cherished pet Bunty died in a freak  accident today at the age of 3. Its always sad losing a companion but at Xmas its a deeper emotional burden.
I shall remember the good times such as  the incident when a boring relative came to stay and saw Bunty sat  on my face. Aunt Warthilda didnt even scream she just went white and climbed out of the front window.

An attempted burglary was thwarted when my brave little darling nipped the offender in the trouser leg dept. To this day I still dont think the man can pole vault.
Oh Bunty sweetheart I never had to put you on a lead. We never had a harsh word and in previous years I used to cross your dead husbands with a chicken so all 8 of us round the dinner table had a leg each.
I will miss you terribly RIP my angelic BLACK WIDOW SPIDER.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Soil Hill & Ogden

Nothing on RF at 1030 hrs. C35 Fieldfare and a few Starling were in a field below Sun Hill Farm SH. Just 5 Goldfinch some small gulls and JL were on the top. After discussing how brilliant local birding is JL and me went down to Ogden Res for the obligatory soaking. A few small gulls, Mallard and a single Cormorant were all the water had to offer. The woods were gash; Blackbird, 3 Robin, Jay. C30 Canada were in a upper Bradshaw field below Roper Ln and the usual Lapwing flock plus small gulls were on the Raggalds sports field.

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Reservoir Round Up

Visited 4 reservoirs in the wider area courtesy DP and found it to be hard work. The fresh air, (very fresh) was appreciated as was the exercise and sound bytes.
Leeming Res approx 1025 hrs. Small gulls, number of Mallards, few Blackbirds, prob Sparrowhawk giving briefest views ever. Kestrel, Chaffinch and a couple of smaller finches calling that remained unid.

Leeshaw - full to the brim and windy. More small gulls, 2 Cormorant, 5 Canada (partially hidden in field) Mallards.
I can't remember the name of the next res down which had, you guessed right, some small gulls on it.

Ponden Res. Again the gulls and a few Mallard and Muscovies.

Monday, December 07, 2015

Low Moor Dams

Queensbury Sth: 15 Lapwing, Grey Heron, c22 small gull sp. c35 Fieldfare. Not a single Snipe, but I did find a pothole about 9 inches deep.

Harold Park Lake produced a pr Goosander, otherwise it was rather humdrum. Coots, Tufted, 2 Mute Swan, 2 Greenfinch, pr GC Grebe, Moorhens.

Park Dam again not spectacular; unseasonal warm temperatures to blame methinks. 5 Little Grebe, GSW, Blackbird, Pied Wagtail, multitude of small gulls. A pr Mute Swan gave a spectacular fly over, fly around, fly past including dodging the overhead electricity cables before heading back to HPL. Moorhens, Coots, Tufted in higher numbers than the a/m, herd of Canada Geese.
About 350 metres up the road apiece from here in Fenwick Drive 2, if not 3 Redpoll flittng about - niceeee.

Thursday, December 03, 2015

Disappointment down South

After the gunge sorta cleared up around 1330 hrs, I decided to trundle down Queensbury Sth to see if I could avoid seeing any birds at all. This being the best method of not encountering boredom and probable deep depression had I been full of hope. Needless to say I failed as some birds had the temerity to actually show themselves, the swine.
1405 hrs trailer park area: although busy with lorries and plant machinery c25 Lapwing and c50 small gulls were present. I couldn't bring myself to enter the marsh field, the thought of probable Snipe was too much to bear. I did however encounter 2 Meadow Pipit, c30 Jackdaw, 2 Goldfinch, 1 Blackbird on the way home.

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Recent Breakthrough

After the longest period of a local birding drought I've had to endure since my arrival here there was a glimmer of hope today. The timing was horrendous but I suppose had it been an hour later the traffic would have prevented the occurence of...
a TAWNY OWL flying around the house front calling on two occasions in the early hours as I almost slept.
If this filth clears up and it dont piss down, why I may subject myself to the delights that only Soil Hell and Ogden Res can offer.

I took the chance even though it was still raining: RFlood approx 1230 hrs - 2 Mallard.
Soil Hill was suffering the onslaught of a prime SW'ly and was verily crap. Blackbird, 2 Mistle Thrush, Meadow Pipit, some small gulls. A flock of unid winter thrush types numbering around 25 went north.

Ogden Res: c13 Goldcrest, Blackbird, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, usual small gulls. Grey Heron flying over. Few Gt/Blue Tit but not a single Robin. I hope the one that fed out of my hand last week didn't get food poisoning.